Chapter

“Democratic” Diagrams in Berkeley and Princeton

in Drawing Theories Apart

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780226422664
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226422657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226422657.003.0009
“Democratic” Diagrams in Berkeley and Princeton

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Few American physics departments experienced the pains of transition to the postwar political scene more abruptly, or more publicly, than the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Geoffrey Chew produced an unusual reading of Feynman diagrams during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He built his influential S-matrix program around a scaffolding of reinterpreted Feynman diagrams and worked hard to spread the new diagrammatic techniques far and wide. Theorists working elsewhere, such as Princeton, did not follow Chew in reaching the same conclusions about what the diagrams' simple lines portended. Chew's prominent S-matrix program drew on intellectual resources specific to his time and place—conceptual ingredients that extended beyond the narrow province of theoretical physics and that assumed special salience for Chew's group in Berkeley. Chew and many of his students and colleagues saw his program for strong interaction particle physics as specifically democratic at the time.

Keywords: Geoffrey Chew; S-matrix program; Feynman diagrams; University of California; Princeton

Chapter.  16487 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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